No Cannabis App For Canadian iPhones

If you’re fortunate enough to own an Apple iPhone, it seems whatever your interest, “there’s an app for that,” as the TV commercial tells us. “Apps” are software applications, usually small, specifically-focused, and inexpensive, that run on Apple’s iPhone operating system, a slimmed-down version of Apple’s Macintosh OS X for personal computers and servers.

There are literally thousands of these little programs available on Apple’s online App. Store, one of the newest Apple has approved for sale being named simply “Cannabis,” a US$1.99 iPhone and iPod app by Los Angeles-based Activists Justifying the Natural Agriculture of Ganja (AJNAG), who operate the Website and database.

Cannabis the app. is designed to help legal marijuana users quickly locate the nearest medical cannabis collectives, cooperatives, doctors, clinics, attorneys, organizations, and other patient services in the 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana, four of which – California, Colorado, New Mexico and Rhode Island – have also authorized “dispensaries” to sell medical cannabis. Currently, legislatures of seven other U.S. states are considering medical marijuana bills.

Unfortunately, Canada isn’t covered by this app, so the few thousand Canadians licensed by Health Canada to use medical marijuana won’t find the iPhone Cannabis app very useful. However, because of Canada’s perversely absurd and obstructive laws pertaining to medical marijuana suppliers, it probably wouldn’t be a whole lot of help anyway.

Canada’s medical marijuana supply regulations are nothing short of Kafkaseque. In April, the Harper Conservative government grudgingly responded to a January, 2008 Federal Court ruling striking down the previous limit of one licensed patient per producer as a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, by increasing the number of medical marijuana users and cynical slap in the face to medical marijuana advocates, especially those suffering from painful, debilitating illnesses whose symptoms can be relieved by therapeutic use of cannabis.

“From one to two patients, that’s just insane,” Eric Nash, a licensed Vancouver Island supplier under the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations commented to the Canadian Press. I couldn’t agree more.

The whole obstructive, punitive policy structure regulating medical marijuana use in Canada is utterly insane, not to mention inhumane.

Nash noted he’s had several hundred requests for help from approved marijuana users, but is legally prevented from supplying them.

The cynicism of the Harperistas’ increase to two patients per producer will hopefully face a court challenge as to its technical compliance with the Strayer ruling. In any event, it’s calculated insult and injury to thousands of suffering people by a government making no secret of its perverse desire to phase out personal marijuana production entirely, notwithstanding that “official” medical marijuana supplied by Health Canada is reportedly so mediocre that only about 20 per cent of eligible patients actually use it, probably suiting the pot-hostile Conservatives just fine.

People struggling with painful, debilitating illness shouldn’t have to battle their government and pay junkie-dealer prices for access to a safe, effective medicine that provides relief.

One of the few top-tier elected officials who has addressed the medical marijuana issue with reason and common sense, former Nova Scotia Tory premier John Hamm, who is perhaps not-coincidentally a medical doctor, said marijuana should not be regulated differently than pain-killing medications such as morphine or dilaudid.

“If it has medical benefits and it is apparent now that it does, then it should be handled the way we handle any other medication that comes on the market,” Hamm observed, adding that people who possess small amounts of pot shouldn’t be classified as criminals. However, regulation of drugs and criminal law are federal responsibilities, so Hamm’s sensible perspectives didn’t change anything.

Evidence, anecdotal and scientific, increasingly backs medical marijuana advocates’ contention that cannabis could be one of the most powerful, versatile drugs in the healing arsenal, and one of the safest. Britain’s prestigious medical journal, The Lancet wrote that: “The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health.”

Meanwhile GPs are prevented from prescribing cannabis to patients suffering from chronic pain, but permitted to prescribe much more harmful and addictive drugs like Oxycodone if a powerful painkiller is indicated. How insane is that?

Charles W. Moore is a Nova Scotia based freelance writer and editor. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] His column appears each Thursday.

– Article from the Telegraph Journal.